Akpan Etukudo Asare
Police authorities in Cross River State have confirmed the heavy presence of armed Fulani herdsmen who reportedly arrived Ogoja local government area of the state in two long trucks.
As a result there has been tension and fear amongst the people of Ogoja in the northern part of the state.
The armed Fulani herdsmen were said to have arrived the state yesterday without declared mission.
The people have therefore raised an alarm calling on journalists and security personnel to monitor their mission.
PRO of the state police command Irene Ugbo confirmed the presence of the Fulanis when news men sought her views.
Mr Eugene Upah, a community leader and social commentator drew the attention of the public to the large number of the presence of the Fulani herdsmen whom he said bore assorted arms.
Upah said they arrived Ogoja from an unknown destination to settle in Garki along Barracks road, Ogoja and had begun their routine activities without anyone getting to know about it.
Upah called on governor Ben Ayade, the Speaker, John Gaul Lebo as well as the state security adviser, Jude Ngaji to step in and arrest the situation before it escalates into a bloodbath because the indigenes have risen to attack the ‘armed strangers’.
According to him, the community does not have the capacity to accommodate the invaders and have been having sleepless nights since the arrival of the invaders.
“I am by this notice calling on the people of Ogoja; residing at home, to remain vigilant against possible invasion into Ogoja or its environs. We will not accommodate Fulanis who will come and cause chaos or give our people sleepless nights because of fear of the unknown. We will not condone any act of forceful invasion into our territory or its neighbourhood.
“We will resist them in our numbers and won’t allow them to stay…not anytime soon. So even if the ‘directive’ came from the Chief of Army Staff, Inspector General of Police, The Hague or the United Nations. We will not accept it, not in Ogoja.
“If they could be killing their fellow Northerners from Benue, Adamawa, Kogi, Bornu etc then our safety isn’t guaranteed to have them among our weak aged parents, mothers and children. I am also calling on the Cross River State House of Assembly to move a bill preventing Fulani Herdsmen from grazing or amassing cattle colonies in our state”, Upah said.
Ngaji, state security adviser, said they were monitoring the situation and have alerted security agencies about the development.